Russian names generally consist of three names. A given name, a patronymic name and a family name. A patronymic name is based on the name of one's father, grandfather, or earlier male ancestor. Russian male patronymic names are formed by adding the suffex -evich or -ovich, female patronymic names by adding the suffex -ovna or -evna. For example, in the name Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin, Boris is the given name, Nikolayevich the patronymic (his father's name is Nikolay) and Yeltsin is the family name.
Given names often have a basis in the Russian Orthodox church or Slavic culture. Slavic names generally describe a person's character, show respect for family members or reflect wishes for good fortune.
Most names have several diminutive forms or nicknames. For example Mikhail can be Misha, Mishenka, and Mishunya.